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New Zealand Extends Auckland Lockdown As Delta Variant Outbreak Continues To Grow

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New Zealand has extended the ongoing lockdown of its largest city Auckland for two more weeks amid an unrelenting delta variant-fueled Covid-19 outbreak, a move that comes at a time when the country is looking to rapidly vaccinate its population as it moves away from its ‘zero-Covid’ strategy.

Key Facts

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that there will be no changes to the stringent lockdown measures—which have been in place for over two months—for at least two more weeks.

Ardern said the measures are being kept in place to minimize cases while the vaccine uptake rises and any “interim easing” would impact that plan.

New Zealand reported 60 new local Covid-19 cases on Monday, 57 of which were in Auckland.

Acknowledging the need for clarity about the path out of lockdown, Ardern said she and her government would lay out a new framework for mitigating outbreaks on Friday which would include a vaccination target before it goes into effect.

Ardern noted that the vaccination target for the new measures to go into effect will be very high and a vaccination pass system would be put in place.

Big Number

66%. That’s the percentage of eligible people in New Zealand who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a total of 2.77 million people, according to official government data. The country has managed to rapidly ramp up its inoculation program after a sluggish start and is hoping to vaccinate 90% of the eligible population in the country by Christmas.

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